A Harlem bus accident resulted in 11 injuries – five of them serious – after a sport utility vehicle slammed head-on into a Metro Transit Authority bus that was stopped on Fredrick Douglass Boulevard, shortly before 7 a.m. on a Wednesday.
Our Harlem bus accident lawyers understand that it started with a livery cab that was heading north when it clipped an SUV while trying to make a U-turn.
The SUV driver then lost control and spun around, striking the bus head-on. Several of those injured had been standing in front of the bus at the time of the crash, and witnesses say they were flown into the air by the impact.
Thankfully, none of those injuries sustained are believed to be life-threatening, but several were serious.
We are grateful that those involved were not more badly hurt. Although investigators are still working to figure out all the details, it does not appear the bus driver was at any sort of fault.
Still, we know that the National Highway Safety Association for years didn’t track bus accidents, which actually gave people and politicians the false impression that buses were safer than is the reality. According to a report in USA Today last year, that has allowed the motor coach industry to thwart efforts to increase regulation. That lack of regulation affects government-operated bus transit systems, as well as those for privately-owned industry.
In New York, approximately 7 million people ride the transit buses and subway every day. There is ample opportunity for accidents – sometimes severe ones.
The NHTSA is working to finalize a number of regulations for the bus industry, one of which will be to require seat belts on the vehicles. Another piece of pending regulation involves improving the structural integrity of newly-manufactured buses to reduce incidents of rollover and improve fire safety and emergency evacuation procedures.
The new rules won’t require retro-fitting of safety belts, but the agency isn’t ruling out the possibility that they may require that in the future.
Requiring belts on new buses is estimated to cost about $25 million a year, or roughly $13,000 per bus. This seems high, but it’s expected to save approximately 8 lives annually.
Between 1999 and 2008, there were reportedly 54 fatal bus accidents resulting in more than 185 deaths.
The anti-rollover technology (electronic stability control) that the agency would require on both new buses and truck tractors could save hundreds of lives and spare thousands of injuries each year. The federal transportation authority reported that rollover crashes involving heavy vehicles kill more than 300 people and injury nearly 2,800 every year.
That doesn’t even include the loss of productivity hours caused by traffic jams and injuries that keep workers from returning to the job.
The agency says the rollover technology should help to reduce up to 60 percent of single-vehicle rollover crashes involving large vehicles. (Such technology is already required for light-duty trucks and cars.)
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations. Call 1-877-313-7673.
Harlem bus accident injures 11, Feb. 13, 2013, By Joe Kemp, New York Daily News
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